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Full text of "The Cambridge Natural History"

482                                       BAMBOO   RATS                                      CHAp,
work, I used frequently to watch them, and found that the loose
earth from their excavations was brought to the bottom of the
crater, and sent with great force into the air in a succession of
rapid jerks, and that they themselves never ventured forth from
the shelter of the burrows." 1
Fam. 4. Spaiacidae.—" The Spalacidae," observes Dr. Blan-
fordj "are sometimes called rodent moles, and resemble a mole in
general aspect, having cylindrical bodies, short limbs, small eyes
and ears, large claws, and a short or rudimentary tail." The
existence of a spiral valve in the caecum may perhaps characterise
this family; but it has at present only been found in the two
genera Spcdax and Jthizomys.
SpalaiG has iuconspicuous eyes and external ears. The tail is
totally absent. The lower incisors are more developed than in
other Rodents ; they project in a bony sheath beyond the posterior
end of the rarmis of the lower jaw. The scapula is long and
narrow. The large intestine is half the length of the small in-
testine. The animal seems to have only two pairs of teats, one
pectoral the other inguinal.
Spalax typhlus of Egypt, which is probably not different from
the European form, makes extensive burrows, some of the branches
being even 30 to 40 yards in length. In a " domical chamber,'1
situated along the course of one of these burrows, Dr. Andersor
found no less than 68 bulbs stored up. Its eyes are mere blaci
specks among the muscles, but they appear, however, to have s
proper organisation. There are altogether eight species of the
genus, which is entirely Palaearctic in its range.
The genus Ithizomys, including a number of species knowr
as Bamboo Rats, is purely Oriental in range. Mh. sumatrensi,
reaches a length of 19 inches; the better-known species, Wi
badius, is at most only 9 inches in length—in both cases th<
measurements are exclusive of the tail, which is a quarter t<
one-third of the length of the body, and is not scaly but nearly
naked, with a few scattered hairs. The molars are three, an(
the incisors usually orange in colour; but sometimes the uppe
incisors axe white as in Hh. Radius. There are thirteen dorsa
vertebrae. In J&L prwinosus the large intestine is considerably
longer than the small intestine; the lengths of the two section
of the gut are 42 and SO inches respectively. In anothe
* Proc. Zool. JS&c. 1885, p. 611.